Monday Morning Quarterback Part I

By BOP Staff

December 4, 2012

Elephants squish leprechauns.

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And there I was killing them softly with my song. Or rather being killed. And not so softly either.

Kim Hollis: Killing Them Softly opened to $6.8 million. What do you think of this result?

Jason Barney: It is not great. Pitt is a huge name, and you would think a film with him headlining would do a little better. Admittedly the screen count was on the low side, but I don't think many people were looking for this product and even fewer went to see it. The end result won't be awful, it did only cost $15 million to make, but this will end up being a disappointment.

Another way to look at it, even with the 73% Fresh at RT, it was the only new film this weekend and it didn't get much of an audience. Almost as many people went to see Red Dawn, one of the weaker films in the top 10. That is not a good news for Killing Them Softly.


Edwin Davies: I'd say that this is a case of a studio trying to take advantage of the slow weekend after Thanksgiving and discovering why no one releases films over this weekend. It's a really bad frame, and you'd need a pretty strong or distinctive film to break out. Unfortunately, everything that makes Killing Them Softly an interesting movie - such as the way it equates the actions of its characters with the decision to bail out the banks in 2008 - is exactly the sort of thing that is impossible to put across in a trailer and will probably prevent the film from connecting with a big audience. If Sullivan's Travels has taught us nothing else, it's that people tend not to be so interested in social commentary, even if it's dressed up as a crime film. So without that angle, the film had to be advertised as a stylish but pretty standard genre exercise. It's a shame, really, because Andrew Dominik has now directly three good to great films in a row, and he deserves to be a bigger name than he is.

That aside, this isn't the worst result in the world. The film cost relatively little, which is probably why the Weinsteins felt confident releasing it on such a quiet weekend; it's a pretty low risk proposition. It should make its budget back before it leaves theaters and cinephiles will discover it on DVD. This is pretty much a wash.

Felix Quinonez: I never thought this was going to break out but at the very least I expected it to get to double digits. Brad Pitt is a huge star so there is really no denying that this is a major disappointment. I guess the one silver lining is that it has a very small budget.

Matthew Huntley: I think it's safe to say we were all expecting bigger numbers than $7 million (I would have predicted $13 million at the start of the weekend) for Killing Them Softly, especially since its reviews were so strong. I'm admittedly at a loss why the studio chose the weekend after Thanksgiving to release it though, especially when the track record for this time of year is so poor when it comes to new openers (leftovers typically repeat). It's also troubling that the exit polls for Softly were a pitiful "F." I've yet to see it, but a friend of mine tells me it's mostly dialogue (as opposed to action), which I don't know why would necessarily be a bad thing, but it seems most people were expecting the genre exercise Edwin mentioned but instead got something different (and probably better - just not to them). If it's as good as the critics allude to, then this is a shame indeed.

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